Monday, December 3, 2012
Ouran High School Host Club
Ouran High School Host Club
Based off the manga by Bisco Hatori
Directed by Takuya Igarashi
Originally aired in Japan in 2006
First Released on DVD in America in 2008/2009
Plot Summary: Ouran Academy is a private school that caters to the super rich, the super cute, and the superficial. To amuse themselves—and earn some extra money—the richest, most attractive boys in the school have set up a Host Club, where they charm and entertain rich girls with way too much time on their hands. Haruhi Fujioka is a scholarship student who is a total nobody that no one has realized “he” is actually a she. (An unfortunately gum accident caused her to cut her hair off before transferring schools and she just kind of fell into the role of being a boy.) One day she is looking for a quiet place to study and stumbles into Music Room #3 where the Host Club meets. Startled by their attention, she accidentally breaks an antique vase. To repay the debt, the members demand she join the club and work it off. Although she's an outsider and a "commoner," Haruhi soon becomes everyone's favorite. President Tamaki falls for her while “Honey” adores her, as do identical twins, Hikaru and Kaoru. As Haruhi spends more and more time with the boys, she realizes that good looks and wealth don’t bring happiness as she discovers each lead lonely lives. The Host Club is more than an afterschool activity to raise money—it has given each boy, and Haruhi, a sense of belonging.
Critical Evaluation: This 26-episode anime series is a hit among both girl and guy viewers. It is a hilarious comedy with over the top characters. What may seem at first to be a reverse harem story (girl in a house of boys instead of the stereotypical anime with a nerdy boy in a house of hot girls) is actually much more. While the storylines at first seem to be outrageous, readers soon get invested in the characters as serious issues are discussed (the death of Haruhi’s mother, Kyoya’s constant struggle to show his father what he is made of as the third son, the loneliness the twins experienced for years due to the fact that no one could ever tell them apart, and more). Viewers might at first be a little off put by the show if they are unfamiliar with traditional rom-com clichés and shojo tropes so they might miss some of the jokes that are poking fun at these formats of Japanese manga and anime. The English dubbing is excellently done. There is hardly any bad language, but some might complain of the sexuality behind the show. A Host Club is not in anyway a type of brothel. The boys are just entertaining girls—telling them they are pretty and listening to them, etc. There is no actual sex going on. However, there are a few moments of bra shots (such as when Haruhi is changing for a physical exam) and there is the “angle” that Hikaru and Kaoru play in the club—that of “forbidden brotherly love”—that might creep out some American viewers that don’t understand its role as a shojo cliché. Also, Harhui’s father is a cross dresser. He is not gay or transgender—he just loves to dress as a woman and works at a gay bar. The only bad thing about this great anime is that there was only one season but you can direct viewers who enjoy it to the more detailed 18-volume manga series it is based off of.
Reader's Annotation: N/A
Author Information: Bisco Hatori, born August 30th, 1975, is a Japanese manga artist. Hatori is a pseudonym; she states that the name has special meaning to her. She has worked for such magazines as LaLa. Her manga debut was A Moment of Romance in LaLa DX. Her first series was Millennium Snow. However, the comedy Ouran High School Host Club is her breakout hit (Bisco, n.d.).
Genre: Realistic, Humor
Curriculum Ties: N/A
Booktalking Ideas: N/A
Reading Level/Interest Age: 13+
Challenge Issues: Sexuality, partial nudity, mild language
Challenge Defense: If this book were challenged, I would make sure the library has a Challenge Defense File ready for such a situation. Inside the Challenge Defense File, librarians and the public could find:
· A copy of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill)
· A copy of the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at http://www.ala.org/offices/oif/statementspols/ftrstatement/freedomreadstatement)
· A copy of the library’s own selection policy (my library, the La Vista Public Library, has a policy but it is not online so I can’t link to it as an example).
· A copy of the library’s citizen’s complaint/reconsideration form (my library, the La Vista Public Library’s, form is called the City of La Vista Service Request form).
· Copies of reviews—both good and bad—from reputable library and publishing services to justify why a book was selected for inclusion in the collection. These include not only reviews from such journals as School Library Journal, VOYA, Horn Book, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, but also any mention of books on YALSA lists and other copies of articles about any awards or nominations such books may have received.
· Include a short rationale file for other coworkers so if the librarian in charge of selecting materials is not available when a challenge occurs the other staff members have some information to go by (the rational would include such information as a short summary, what could be challenged, reviews, awards and nominations, etc.)
· Include for staff members a copy of “Strategies and Tips for Dealing with Challenges to Library Materials,” a document written by the American Library Association. Make sure that staff reviews this document periodically so they are prepared and know how to face such situations. (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/challengeslibrarymaterials/copingwithchallenges/strategiestips)
Reason for Inclusion: A current anime with a corresponding (completed) manga series that appeals to both genders and finds its humor in satirizing rom-com stereotypes but is also moving in its character development making it a touching and hilarious series.
Bisco Hatori. (n.d.). Goodreads author profile. Retrieved from http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/144405.Bisco_Hatori